The natural aging process can cause brain atrophy or shrinkage. That is when we find ourselves worrying about brain function.
“Why am I standing here with the refrigerator door open?”
“What did I do with my keys?”
“Honey, did we forget to mail the car payment?”
“I just cannot remember what Jane told me last night about getting together?”
We all have those moments when we just cannot remember what we did with those important papers. We should be able to recall someone’s name but it just will not pop out.
At times like this your imagination may be running wild! “Am I getting Alzheimer’s or dementia? Am I just getting old-timers?” These are things we joke about from time to time but are they really a concern?
Probably not, more than likely it is just the bad habit of not remembering. Maybe we are just too busy or maybe our mind is just on overload?
Studies have shown there is considerable shrinkage in the size of the brain of those who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s related diseases. About 2/3 of your brain is made up of fat.
- Maintain a healthy weight. A recent 10 year British study of men between 39 and 63 years showed interesting results. The men with a lower BMI had better cognitive function. Those men who were obese showed a faster rate of mental decline. Here we are! I want you to weigh less and your brain to weigh more! How nuts is that?
- Eat healthy fats in the right amounts. Oxidized fats and hydrogenated oils (trans fats) are damaging to brain cells. Foods such as powdered eggs and milk, some aged cheeses, lard, smoked meats, packaged lunch meats, and evaporated milk are examples of oxidized fats.
- Fatten up your brain with quality omega-3 fatty acids. Low levels of omega-3s have been associated with low brain volume. Salmon or quality salmon oil supplements are the best source of omega-3 fatty acids.
- Consumption of complex carbohydrates and medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) can reduce the risk of ‘type 3’ diabetes, associated with Alzheimer’s. Complex carbohydrates are non-refined whole grains such as oatmeal, brown rice, quinoa and starchy veggies such as potatoes, beans, peas, and lentils. Good food sources of MCT’s are butter from grass fed cows and quality coconut oil. This sure disputes all the ‘low-fat’ advice that has been given out the past 20 or so years.
- An interesting note: higher cholesterol levels strengthen the blood-brain barrier. The blood-brain barrier separates the circulating blood from the fluid in the central nervous system. So… decreased cholesterol levels may play a part in damaged brain cells. Is it possible that all the statin drugs used to lower cholesterol levels has anything to do with more people developing dementia or Alzheimer’s?
- Supplement with a quality, whole food vitamin E. A recent study of Alzheimer’s showed a delay in the progression of the disease by 6.2 months over a period of 2.3 years with the use of vitamin E. The entire Vitamin E family reduces oxidation of the fats in your body including the good fats.
- Eat a diet rich in antioxidants. Antioxidants in abundance help increase the flow of oxygen-rich blood to the brain thus reducing the risk of stroke. They also work to reduce oxidation of fats.
- A diet rich in antioxidants and flavonoids such as blueberries and strawberries affect the brain by boosting its signaling function, preventing inflammation, and protecting cognitive as well as motor control.
- Resveratrol (polyphenols) found in pomegranates counteracts the negative effects of age-related cognitive decline. It may work by reducing free radical damage, inflammation, and improving DNA repair. Resveratrol may protect nerve and brain cells from the buildup of plaque that can cause Alzheimer’s.
- B Vitamins in general can slow brain shrinkage as well as age-related mild cognitive impairment (MCI). MCI may increase the risk of developing dementia including Alzheimer’s.
Follow these guidelines to a healthier fatter brain.
A recent article in The Washington Post by Tara Bahrampour indicates that Alzheimer’s really should be rated as the third leading cause of death, after heart disease and cancer. It isn’t rated third because often times other causes of death are listed on death certificates other than Alzheimer’s.
Tell me what you are doing to boost the healthy fat in your brain. I know you do not want to end up with severe dementia or Alzheimer’s. That is not a fun place to be!
I’m borrowing a quote from one of my past nutritional mentors, Dr. Don Lawson.
“You want to be all there when you get there!”
References: “Searching for Nutrition (Part 3)” Oct 2013 www.imageawareness.com http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/270708.php http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2516645/Migraines-link-plastic-cups-bottles-Gender-bending-chemical-packaging-trigger-attacks.html “How Can I Keep My Brain Cells?” June 2013 www.imageawareness.com
Pat has been married to the same man for 52 years, is the mother of 3 adult children, and grandma to 8 grandchildren. Growing up in the country gave her a head start to living a healthy lifestyle. This grandma became interested in nutrition as a mother and for the past 27 plus years she has specialized in teaching others the importance of good nutrition. Challenges along the road have been many; her father overcoming congestive heart failure with nutrition, her husband's battle with GERD and dealing with major heart issues, her daughter's battle with a brain tumor, her grandson beating Hodgkin's Lymphoma, her mother's stage 4 lung cancer, her mom-n-law's dementia, and others. Her goal is to empower the future health of others with wisdom, knowledge and common sense so they can have the BEST REAL HEALTH possible.
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(All information on this blog site is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. Information on this site has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.)
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